A $500,000 monument dedicated to Confederate president Jefferson Davis could be doomed to a crappy fate.
The Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair in Selma, Alabama was stolen from the Live Oaks Cemetery in March. Now, the group that claims to currently possess the monument is demanding a ransom from the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), an organization of Confederate descendants dedicated to preserving monuments of their ancestors. The UDC is also known for peddling the bogus “Lost Cause” narrative that falsely denies that Civil War was fought over slavery.
Jamyron Hope, the crime scene investigator at the Selma Police Department, told TPM over the phone that the chair was stolen on March 19. He also confirmed that the monument was worth half a million dollars.
The group, which calls itself “White Lies Matter,” is demanding that the UDC display a banner featuring a quote by former Black Liberation Army activist Assata Shakur in front of the organization’s headquarters in Richmond, Virginia for 24 hours in exchange for the monument. AL.com obtained an email from group, which says the banner must go up at 1 p.m. ET this Friday, aka the anniversary of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at the end of the Civil War.
“Failure to do so will result in the monument, an ornate stone chair, immediately being turned into a toilet,” the alleged culprits warn. “If they do display the banner, not only will we return the chair intact, but we will clean it to boot.”
AL.com reported that the White Lies Matter group emailed the news organization directly.
A photo shows that the monument, with a giant hole in the seat, stands ready to become a commode in an instant if the alleged chair thieves’ demand goes unsatisfied:
A group calling itself White Lies Matter say they stole Jefferson Davis’ chair from Selma and are demanding that the UDC hang a banner in Richmond Friday with a quote from Asatta Shakur. There’s a $5000 reward. https://t.co/83fLcqZ1HN https://t.co/zVqR85vljH pic.twitter.com/urmo9lNKK8
— servenitup (@RuthServenSmith) April 5, 2021
Per AL.com, the Shakur quote on the banner states: “The rulers of this country have always considered their property more important than our lives.”
The alleged perpetrators assert in their email that the monument “mostly exists to remind those who’s [sic] freedom had to be purchased in blood, that there still exists a portion of our country that is more than willing to continue to spill blood to avoid paying that debt down.”
“We took their toy, and we don’t feel guilty about it,” they write. “They never play with it anyway. They just want it there to remind us what they’ve done, what they are still willing to do.”
The theft was reported by Patricia Godwin, who identified herself as a member of the UDC during a phone call with TPM.
Goodwin, who said she checked the monument “every day” before it went missing, declined to confirm whether her organization had received the ransom demand, directing TPM to UDC President General Linda Edwards, who did not respond to requests for comment.
However, Godwin indicated that, unlike the Confederacy, the UDC would not concede to its adversary.
“We’re not going to give in to extortion,” she told TPM.
When asked what her response was to White Lies Matters’ characterization of the monument in their email as “a throne for a ghost whose greatest accomplishment was treason,” Godwin was indifferent.
“I have no response to that whatever,” she said. “They’re entitled to their opinion.”
Correction: This post was updated with the correct spelling of Godwin’s name